The long road to Fracking in Lancashire after failed legal challenge

The Preston New Road fracking site Credit: Credit: PA

It has been a long, controversial road to the start of "fracking" to extract shale gas from deep underground at Preston New Road in Lancashire.

The shale gas revolution began in the US, and few had heard of fracking in the UK, when it hit the headlines in 2011 for causing two small earthquakes near Blackpool in April and May.

Cuadrilla, the company operating in the area, suspended its activities and a Government moratorium soon followed.

In 2012, fracking was given the green light again, with new controls to address the risk of seismic activity.

By then opposition was on the rise. Campaigners have spent years protesting close to Caudrilla's drill sites on the Fylde Coast.

Lancashire County Councillors opposed Caudrilla's schemes. But in October 2016 the Government gave the green light for the project at Preston New Road.

Bob Dennett at the High court in failed last ditch attempt to halt fracking Credit: PA

Campaigner Bob Dennett's bid to temporarily block Cuadrilla from commencing work at Preston New Road on safety grounds was rejected by the High Court.

During the hearing it emerged it costs Cuadrilla £94,000 a day to keep all its kit and equipment on the site.

Five years on, as fracking finally gets underway, support remains low. Government figures show less than a fifth of people support shale gas exploration. Labour has pledged to ban fracking if it gets into power.